You want find a stronger wide receiver group in the nation than the one residing in the upstate of South Carolina
Tee Higgins. Justyn Ross. Diondre Overton. Cornell Powell. TJ Chase. Amari Rogers. That’s a two deep in and of itself that should keep opposing coaches in the film room working overtime. It doesn’t stop there, however. Add in Frank Ladson and Joe Ngata, the two five star freshman, and this is a unit that is oozing with talent. This kind of talent gives All World QB Trevor Lawrence a margin for error he doesn’t even need.
At the top of the list of priorities is replacing the sure handed Hunter Renfrow. It’s hard to imagine this offense taking the field without the guy that became known as “3rd and Renfrow” and replacing his production, particularly on third down, will be a tall task.
The guy tasked with attempting to replace some of his production was supposed to be Amari Rogers. A torn ACL early on in the spring has him on the shelf rehabbing, so it’s next man up in that 3 hole, or slot position.
That man might just be Cornell Powell. Powell looked to be settling in as a bonafide threat as the kickoff returner last season before missing the final eleven games of the season due to some off field issues.
Powell was a four star prospect and a Top 160 player coming out of high school in the 247 Composite Rankings. Rivals actually had him rated as the 36th best player in the nation. He’s played in 27 games in his career so far and logged 369 snaps, catching 25 balls for 207 yards. It would seem the talent is there, plus he’s got plenty of experience. It’s now time for Powell to put it all together on the field.
Look for true freshman Brannon Spector to see some time in the slot as well. At 6’1 and 190lbs, Spector will be the next Tiger to don the number 13. The tradition that’s tied with that number stretches back much further than Hunter Renfrow and the staff wouldn’t just give it out to anyone. That’s high praise for the young man, but at the same time there’s got to be some pressure that comes along with it. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.
Over at the boundary position, Tee Higgins is back for his third year in the program, second as the starter. He’s coming off one of the more impressive sophomore campaigns in school history, earning 2nd team All ACC honors. He led the team with 59 catches and 12 receiving touchdowns, and was just shy of the 1000 yard mark with 936 yards.
Backing up Higgins will be senior Diondre Overton. This is another guy who was highly touted coming out of high school. He was a four star, Top 200 guy, and ranked as the 39th best receiver in his class in the Composite.
He’s one of those guys who would be starting at most other schools, but has just been “out recruited” at Clemson. Last season he appeared in all but one game, playing 252 snaps and catching 14 balls for 199 yards and 3 TDs. He also worked at the slot some in the spring and will likely see some time there. That would give the team the option of having 4 receivers on the field at the same time who are all over 6’3. Talk about creating mismatches.
At the field position spot, Justyn Ross takes over. It’s still hard to believe that Ross is yet to start a game after some of his performances down the stretch. He led the team last season with 1000 receiving yards as a freshman. He did it on 46 catches, and also had 9 touchdown catches. It’s fun to think about all the possibilities with Ross and Higgins on the field together.
Behind Ross on the summer depth chart was TJ Chase. He’s been a key reserve on this team over the past two seasons after redshirting in 2016. He’s appeared in 29 games and played 348 snaps. He’s caught 18 balls for 136 yards and 3 TDs.
Also lurking in the distance are two true freshman that are going to be hard to keep off the field. Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson Jr are both five star studs that the coaches have raved about. Both enrolled early and both impressed throughout spring practice. It would not be a surprise to see either or both in the two deep by the time November rolls around.
Defensive coordinators are going to have to pick their poison. Place the emphasis on stopping the run or emphasize slowing the pass. With Higgins and Ross on the field together, it gives the staff a ton of options as far as how they want to attack. It should be one of the more eclectic offenses in school history, and very easily could be one of the most prolific passing offenses in school history.
ESPN recently came out with a top ten list ranking the #WRU schools and somehow Clemson didn’t make the cut. This group of guys will make that look like an asinine decision in the upcoming season.